Steelheads win, tie in doubleheader
PITTSBURGH – The Erie Steelheads improved to 2-0-1 in pool play with a win and a tie in two games Friday at the University of Pittsburgh Mid-Atlantic Super Select.
Warren’s Mitch Grosch tossed a complete game gem in an 11-1 win to start the day. He was also 1-2 with a pair of RBI, while teammates Ryan Rafalski and Micah Passmore were a combined 3-4 with two runs scored and two driven in.
Rafalski was roughed up a bit on the mound in the second game, but went 2-3 with a RBI to help the Steelies earn a 9-9 draw. Grosch was 1-2 with two runs scored and Passmore was 1-4 with a run scored and RBI.
Game 1: Steelheads 11, Jet Box 1
Grosch allowed just one run over four innings and also drove in a pair to help lead the Steelheads to an 11-1 win over Jet Box Finn (Warren, Michigan) in their opening game Friday.
Grosch gave up just one hit, walked three and struck out five in the complete game win.
Jet Box opened the scoring in the first. The leadoff man singled, Jet Box’s only hit of the game, but was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice. With two outs and a runner on third, Grosch threw a wild pitch that allowed the runner to score.
Erie wasted little time responding. Matt Shepard (McDowell) tripled with one out and Casey Smith (Harbor Creek) followed with a RBI single to tie it at 1-1. Smith was able to advance two bases on an error and was waiting at third when Fairview’s Mason Bender singled to right to give the Steelies a lead they would never relinquish. Aidan Kelly (Erie Cathedral Prep) walked and Cody Smith (Harbor Creek) roped a ball to right for the Steelheads’ second triple of the inning and a 4-1 lead. Passmore followed with a RBI groundout to put Erie up 5-1 after one.
Rafalski joined his Dragons teammates in contributing to the blowout with a leadoff triple to start the second. One out later, Grosch brought him home with a sac fly to center.
Jet Box looked like it might get through the third without giving up a run, but Cody Smith drew a two out walk and Passmore doubled him to third. Kelly came in as a courtesy runner for Passmore. Cody Smith scored on a passed ball and Cam Williamson (Harbor Creek) hit a double to center to score Kelly and put Erie up 8-1.
Rafalski followed with a RBI single and Jared Bielanin (McDowell) put him in scoring position with a single to left. Grosch ripped a single to right to bring in Rafalski and put runners on the corners. Shepard walked to load the bases and Bielanin scored on a wild pitch to bring in the 11th run.
Game 2: Steelheads 9, Renegades Sports Club 9
Erie battled back from 4- and 2-run deficits to earn a 9-9, six inning tie with the Renegades Sports Club (Venetia, Pennsylvania).
The game reached the time limit with the Steelheads coming up in the seventh.
A back-and-forth contest saw the Steelies put the first run on the board. Bender walked to start the second and scored one out later as Cody Smith reached on an error.
The Renegades answered with a 5-spot in the home half. A walk, single, fielder’s choice and single loaded the bases. A hit by pitch tied the game at 1-1. With two outs, the Renegades got a 2-RBI single and 2-run double to make it 5-1.
The Steelies came back to retake the lead in the third. Williamson singled, Grosch walked and Shepard singled to load the bases. Casey Smith hit a single to right to score Williamson from third and Grosch beat the throw to score from second. With Bender at the plate, an error on the catcher allowed Shepard to score and Casey Smith to advance to third. Casey Smith scored on a passed ball during the same plate appearance, and Bender drew a walk. Bender stole second and one out later, took third on a passed ball with Cody Smith at the plate. Cody Smith walked and Passmore grounded into a fielder’s choice that wiped out Cody Smith at second, but allowed Bender to score to put the Steelheads back on top, 6-5.
With one away in the bottom of the inning, the Renegades got a single, walk and single to tie it at 6-6.
Grosch doubled to start the fourth and Casey Smith singled him home with one out to put Erie back in the lead, 7-6.
The Renegades took advantage of a Steelies mistake to retake the lead. The leadoff hitter in the fourth reached on a dropped third strike. A walk put runners on first and second and single brought in the tying run. A sac fly put the Renegades up 8-7 and a single made it 9-7 going into the fifth.
Cody Smith drew a leadoff walk and Passmore singled to put runners at first and second for Rafalski. He singled to right to bring in Cody Smith. Williamson also singled to right, bringing in Passmore and closing out the scoring.
The Steelheads are back in action today as they take on the South Hills Devil Dogs (Bethel Park, Pennsylvania). First pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m.